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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – For twenty-four years she’s been the woman in the sketch, known simply as Jane Doe – an unidentified victim of a brutal rape and murder who was left for dead in 1998 in a grassy area in southwest Broward County off of U.S. 27. To catch her killer, detectives first needed to know her name. Now, that mystery has been solved.
After months of painstaking detective work and DNA analysis, investigators have identified Jane Doe. This breakthrough is the focus of the fifth episode of BSO’s “Open and Unsolved” cold case series, which can be found linked in the photo above or on YouTube. A previous episode on Jane Doe can be found HERE.
Eileen Truppner is the woman left for dead. Her body was discovered by a boater on a weekend outing in December 1998. Years earlier, Eileen left her native Puerto Rico and moved to South Florida to start a new chapter in her life. She had a loving family, two children and friends. Eileen could never imagine her new chapter would end in tragedy at the hands of an unknown killer.
BSO Cold Case Homicide Detective Zack Scott has made it his mission to discover Jane Doe’s identity and find her killer. He faced the difficult task of conveying the confirmation of Eileen’s identity to her family. Eileen’s sister, Nancy Truppner, lived in anguish for years not knowing what happened to her sister. Detective Scott’s phone call stirred a wide range of emotions.
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“I said, ‘Did you find her?’ and I was happy, but when he started talking and said what happened to her…The story changes. The way she died, when she was a kind person. She was so good, and she died the way she died. She did not deserve that,” Nancy Truppner said.
The clues from her crime scene formed the building blocks of the DNA evidence that revealed her identity. Investigators contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and requested the assistance of their genetic genealogy unit. Forensic genetic genealogy allows law enforcement’s use of DNA analysis combined with traditional genealogy research to generate investigative leads for unsolved crimes.
Now, Detective Scott’s focus is finding who took Eileen’s life. He said there’s a person of interest in this case, and he wants to speak with anyone who knew or crossed paths with Eileen Truppner between August 1998 and when her murder occurred in December 1998.
“If there are people out there who knew Eileen during this time period, now that they know it’s Eileen, if they can tell us anything about her life in that period, no matter how insignificant they think it is, it could be what we’re looking for to connect the dots between the potential suspect, the evidence and our victim,” Detective Scott said.
Only then, will the family find the closure they’ve been seeking for so many years. Their hope remains with the investigators and any new information that can help them find Eileen’s killer and bring that person to justice.
Anyone who might have information on Eileen Truppner’s homicide is asked to contact Det. Zack Scott at 954-321-4214. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477), online at browardcrimestoppers.org, or dial **TIPS (8477) from any cellphone in the United States. Any information that leads to an arrest in this case is eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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